Friday, 20 April 2018

#IATEFL Day 3 Thursday 12 April

10:20 Video-based training and development for language teachers Steve Mann

Steve Mann set out his research aims: to map the current use of video and visual media in language teacher education and to build a community of practice among practitioners in teacher education in order to share good ideas and options.

This research includes interviews with over 40 teacher educators to elicit details of ways video practices support teacher education.

He referred to his book Reflective Practice, written with Steve Walsh, which takes a data-led, dialogic approach and the use of appropriate tools.  He also told us about video platforms to address concerns about privacy:

This project is mapping the use and sharing examples of the different ways in which video is being used in language teacher education and is now live on the Video in Language Teacher Education ViLTE website and YouTube channel.

11:05 Pronunciation in Action: reflections from two teacher trainers Nicola Meldrum & Mark McKinnon

Nicola and Mark told us how they went back into the classroom in response to hearing repeated issues around pronunciation.  They team taught on an A1 class deciding to help the learners decode rather than by grading the language.  They did this by listening and noticing, by picking up and responding to problems, and by focusing on decoding listening activities to provide a supportive listening cycle:
Meaning Form Sound (MFS) + Feedback Focused Planning (FFP)  + Supportive Listening Cycle (SC) = Fully Integrated Pronunciation (FIP)

They shared their results by including a video of a learner's very positive reflections on the course.

12:05 Forum on Effective & Personalised: the Holy Grail of CPD

Creating a culture of CPD, centre -wide, brand-wide, company-wide Oliver Beaumont & Duncan Jamieson

Using the analogy of a garden, Oliver and Ben look at the difference between CPD and creating a culture of CPD as in a growing community, and differentiating the two, by saying it's not so much about what, it's more about how.  They shared their provision of how as bottom-up, participant-driven CPD for teachers to collaborate, look at their current practice, input practical ideas on how to be better, reflect on practice and feedforward for follow-up action.

Are we really supporting new teachers? Alistair Roy

Alistair began by quoting figures that suggested the answer is a resounding 'No' - 91.7% of teachers have never been assigned an official mentor.

He suggested that it would be a good idea if mentoring was considered obligatory in EFL as it is for newly qualified teachers in the state sector.

He talked about the fact that new teachers seem to like a mentor that has just a little more experience than them rather than a lot and a mentor that teaches in the same department. He suggested setting up a buddy system with weekly meetings built into schedules. He gave the following advice to managers:

What can managers do?

  • invest - not just economically
  • dedicate time and resources
  • support
  • understand
  • a good teacher is the best resource

Personalised Development Groups - a framework for collaborative, teacher-led CPD Josh Round & Andrew Gaskins

This session began by looking at the traditional approach to CPD: a one-size-fits-all, top-down, passive consumption with little follow up and the need to move away from this to a fresh approach to CPD that is less top-down and more personalised.

They told us about their initiative of setting up personalised development groups (PDGs). An idea to benefit schools and support teachers by finding a balance between autonomy and choice by providing a supportive framework for an action research cycle. Providing example research questions, ideas for observation tools and clear follow-through options.
 They evaluated the scheme by asking for feedback and shared results.
 Why they sometimes don't work so well: lack of structure, lack of follow through - absences/ sickness , contributions can be uneven
Successes: inspirational feedback presentations, new stronger relationships, ongoing conversations about teaching

Follow up seemed to be the key word in all three sessions.

Learner-Centred observations of teachers Christian Tiplady

Christian spoke about the aim to create a learner-centred approach when teaching but, when observing, asked the question, "How learner-centred are the criteria?". He highlighted the fact that the criteria for assessment do not match a learner-centred approach.  He suggested that by focusing on the behaviours of teachers when observing, we are reinforcing a teacher-focused approach and disconnecting from learner outcomes.

He conducted a case study and showed us how he had changed the usual observation template to make the criteria more learner-centred in liaison with the teacher and he shared the results. He remarked on how little literature there seems to be out there on this topic.

I think a refocus in observation practice on learning rather than on teaching sounds like an extremely beneficial move for both the teacher and the learner.

Developing Learner Independence through Online Platforms Russell Standard

Russell Standard started by telling us that his own language learning experience had inspired this talk. He spoke about learning platforms / VLEs and used Edmodo as an example to highlight the vast numbers who sign up - 70million users on Edmodo - but pointed out that these figures do not reflect active users. He talked about how easy it was to overload the content on a platform and suggested it was far better to have less content and fewer tools and to exploit what you have more effectively to keep users active.  

He suggested linking the lesson to the platform in the lesson plan to integrate the platform into the classroom saying the community feeling does not automatically happen and emphasised the need to build teaching and learning around a few technologies so that everything is related and integrated.    He said skilful integration helps focus on pedagogy and helps put the ELT back into technology.

Delivered with a passion, it was an engaging and inspiring last session of the day.

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